STYX – Cornerstone [Japanese SHM-CD Limited Edition]
One of you asked for the quality of the Japanese nine-album cardboard sleeve (mini LP) reissue series of STYX on high quality SHM-CD. In one word; outstanding.
All were released a couple years ago, but it was a Limited Edition and already turned out of print.
These really worth a revisit as all are essential STYX albums – Let’s continue with the great “Cornerstone“.
“Cornerstone” was Styx’s follow-up to their second consecutive Top 10 selling Triple Platinum album in a row, 1978’s Pieces of Eight.
Like the four previous Styx studio recordings, the band produced the album themselves once again. However, they started using a new recording studio Pumpkin Studios in Oak Lawn, Illinois. Plus, the album was the first where the band shied away from the art-rock/prog-rock influences that dominated their first eight studio albums and was the band’s first move towards a more melodic rock direction.
Dennis DeYoung had two ballads on the album. The first was the album’s first single and Styx’s only US #1 single “Babe” which Dennis wrote for his wife Suzanne. The track was performed and recorded as a demo with just him and the Panozzo brothers but then James Young and Tommy Shaw heard the track and decided to put it on “Cornerstone” with Shaw overdubbing a guitar solo in the song’s middle section.
A monster, timeless classic.
The other was the power ballad “First Time” which was intended to be Cornerstone’s second single (radio stations were playing it and got such a response that A&M wanted it out) until Shaw complained and threatened to leave the band as he wanted a rocking cut. “Borrowed Time” was released instead.
DeYoung also wrote the Top 30 hit, the poppish “Why Me”, which was the third single.
The criticism to this album is well documented: too many DeYoung ballads, not enough guitar-driven rockers.
But Cornerstone stands right up there as a rock&pop masterpiece. “Babe” is of course a standout ballad, as is “First Time”. Besides these songs, there are no other here.
The excellent “Boat On The River” is melodic but a uniquely enjoyable Tommy Shaw tune, and Not a ballad. “Lights”, “Why Me” and “Never Say Never” are great mid-tempo melodic rockers, while “Eddie” flat out rocks, as does “Borrowed Time”.
The chorus of “Love In The Midnight” is an example of the best of Tommy and Dennis when they collaborate together: awesome harmony vocals.
So, “Cornerstone” is criticized by many as Styx selling their souls. Wrong. This is one of the first mainstream Melodic Rock / AOR albums ever, and it’s greatly done.
When released, specialized trend enterprise Gallup did a poll: Styx was named America’s most popular Rock band.
These Japanese cardboard sleeve (mini LP) reissues of STYX on SHM-CD sound awesome. All are out of print, but worth the hunt for a remaining copy.
A Must Have.
Universal Japan ~ | SHM-CD | UICY-93923
01 – Lights
02 – Why Me
03 – Babe
04 – Never Say Never
05 – Boat On The River
06 – Borrowed Time
07 – First Time
08 – Eddie
09 – Love In The Midnight
Dennis DeYoung – keyboards, vocals
Chuck Panozzo – bass, vocals
John Panozzo – percussion, drums, vocals
Tommy Shaw – guitars, mandolin, vocals
James Young – guitars, vocals
Steve Eisen – saxophone
Arnie Roth – strings
Ed Tossing – horns